Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 2 continued and what a day it was!

Hello again from the Twin Cities:

The Missouri Delegation is getting used to political, media and hollywood stars if one can get used to such things.

We wave to Bill O'Reilley and Carl Rove all the time, and they generously smile and wave back from their booth just above us. Those in the Missouri alternate-delegate section sit behind the VIP section with such notables as Jon Voigt, Cindy McCain and family, and Bush 41 and Barbara. We are surrounded by famous folks everywhere we go it seems, and believe me, we are throughly enjoying every minute of the experience. Outside the arena, each evening we walk by a MSNBC live broadcast with "one whose name cannot be mentioned" and where his small audience gawks and points at us.

First, just for the record, despite what you may read or see in the media, the police here took mere minutes to subdue the violent protesters and keep them away from delegates. These particular protesters are the "anarchists" who have been saving their urine to throw at us. Yes, you heard that correctly! The peaceful protesters, on the other hand, are complaining because the media is not covering them as thoroughly as they believe they deserve. I will leave that for you to judge. Personally, I think the peaceful folks have a point.

Please do not get me wrong, our experience is not just about seeing and meeting famous folks, as pleasant as that is. No, it is rather about the "meat and potatoes" of this convention, an historic one at that.

So as Paul Harvey is fond of saying, here is "the rest of the story".

As I mentioned in the earlier blog about Day 2, we heard an amazing array of powerful speakers at our luncheon. Below I offer a brief recap of each of those speakers' remarks before I continue with the rest of the day's events.

Senator Kit Bond--kudos to our senior senator from Missouri who brought these fine speakers to us. First, Senator Bond recapped the recent event in O'Fallon, Missouri, honoring Senator McCain and Governor Palin. He talked about how the 22,000 Missourians rocked the house that day. The only downside of the event for Kit was the fact that he had to follow U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof who is a candidate for governor. The senator said that anyone who has heard Kenny speak knows he is a tough act to follow. The senator added that all you have to do is hear Kenny once and you are sold. Senator Bond then introduced an array of stellar speakers.

Roberta McCain, 96, and mother of Senator John McCain. Without a hitch in her voice, no cane and no assistance from anyone, she came to the podium and gave an inspirational speech about her son. By the way, she also spoke some about the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City saying it is one of the best galleries in the world. And, we Missourians thank her for those kind words.

Col. Roger Dolan and Col.Bud Day, both war heroes in their own right. Col. Day, incidentally, served time with Senator McCain in the "Hanoi Hilton". John McCain was shot down in Vietnam on August 26, 1967, and just two months later Bud was shot down on October 26, 1967. Col. Day recalled how John McCain refused to be released early. Day recalled that McCain said, "Not until everyone who has been here longer or who is sicker is released first." Day said "no one was sicker or was injured worse than John McCain."

Michael Steele, former Lt. Gov. of Maryland and television commentator. Michael Steele is an amazing speaker, smart and savvy. For the life of me, I cannot understand how the citizens of Maryland rejected such an outstanding leader for the U.S. Senate. His only mistake, as was noted at our luncheon by Sen. Bond, was that he happened to run in the wrong year--2006. Steele gave a talk centering on the idea of reform and explained how the GOP was the original party of reformers responsible for putting an end to slavery, and said the GOP was the party that pushed the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Cream rises to the top, as the saying goes, and that applies in the case to Michael Steele. We will be seeing more of him!

John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations. I do not have the space to repeat the insightful and informative facts Bolton presented. Suffice to say, that the number one thing Bolton says that separates the ability of individuals to lead is whether or not they possess "the energy of an executive." Without that, they will be weak leaders. Bolton described the qualities of both McCain and Palin in terms of that concept. In both cases, they make immediate and correct decisions quickly without the need for committees, focus groups, advisors or philosophical thought processes. The essence of "energy of an executive!"

Rudy Guiliani, former mayor of New York City often dubbed "America's Mayor". Rudy attended the DNC convention in Denver and took away with him the stark realization that no words were mentioned about "islamic terrorists" and the threat they present. Few words were said at the DNC about Sept. 11. He described the Democratic Candidate for president (BHO) as one who has an unrealistic and naive understanding of the threats that America faces. He contrasted Obama's response to Russia invading Georgia with McCain's saying it took Obama 3 days of changing his message on what he would do to McCain's immediate statement that "We are all Georgians!"

Before and after lunch we were treated to visits to two different railroad operations.

In the words of Sam R., an alternate/ delegate from Moberly, "Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Peabody Coal, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific opened historic passenger cars at rail sidings in St.Paul to the Missourians. Those visits were highlighted by the nostalgia of standing on observation cars used by former Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. "

Appetizers were served, and that was dinner, because soon after, we were bussed to the convention for the evening session.

Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman were rock stars and spot on with their speeches. Laura Bush proved once again she is one of the most capable, lovely, accomplished, compassionate, and popular First Lady's ever, She is in good company with her mother-in-law Barbara Bush, another extremely popular First Lady,

The gavel closed the session, but the most difficult part of the convention was still ahead for us.

Finding our buses!

Perhaps, we will do better on Day 3.

Enjoy the show. We continue to be amazed at the workings of the political process of this great country. Every U.S. citizen should count their lucky stars, we think, for having the opportunity to live here, to differ, to agree. In this convention, delegates cannot comprehend the "hate America first" crowd. We are glad we are not among them.

See you after Day 3 with more convention stories, the biggest of which will be the speech by Gov. Sarah Palin.

You go girl!